A competitive sport in which individuals lift a barbell with the object to lift a greater weight than other competitors in a specific weight division.
This athletic discipline, included in the regular calendar in the Olympics, is often referred to as Olympic-style weightlifting, or Olympic weightlifting.
There are two forms of international weight lifting competition: Olympic lifting, in which only 2 lifts, the snatch and the clean and jerk, are employed, and powerlifting which involves the squat, deadlift, and bench press. In both types of competition, the competitors are permitted three attempts in each lift.
The two competition lifts in order are the snatch and the clean and jerk. The snatch is a wide-grip, one-move lift. The clean and jerk is a close-grip, two-move lift.
Each weightlifter receives three attempts in each, and the combined total of the highest two successful lifts determines the overall result within a bodyweight category.
Bodyweight categories are different for male and female competitors.
A lifter who fails to complete at least one successful snatch and one successful clean and jerk also fails to total, and therefore receives an "incomplete" entry for the competition.
The clean and press was once a competition lift, but was discontinued due to difficulties in judging proper form.
Competitions proceeds with the barbell loaded successively higher weights with the increments in multiples of 2.5 kilograms (5.5 pounds). Each competitor selects the weight at which he will make his next attempt, and he is called in turn when that weight is on the bar.
From the time he is called, the lifter must begin to his lift within 3 minutes or the attempt will be eliminated.
The competition is conducted by three referees who rule on the validity of each lift.
One referee serves as chief referee, who signals to the lifter when he may proceed with a step in a lift or may return the bar to the floor or a rack when the lift is over.
The competitor with the highest single attempt in a lift will be designated the champion of that particular lift, but final placing is determined by the combined total of the best attempts in each lift.
The highest governing body in the sport is International Weightlifting Federation.
Compared with other strength sports, which test limit strength (with or without lifting aids), weightlifting tests aspects of human ballistic limits (explosive strength); the lifts are therefore executed faster — and with more mobility and a greater range of motion during their execution— than other strength movements.
While there are relatively few competitive Olympic weightlifters, the lifts performed in the sport of weightlifting, and in particular their component lifts (e.g. squats, deadlifts, cleans), are commonly used by elite athletes in other sports to train for both explosive and functional strength.